News

Storm downs trees, fills local streams

The storm this weekend caused flooding in some areas of the Midpeninsula, felled trees, blocked roads and filled streams with muddy water.

A power pole fell and blocked state Highway 92 around noon on Sunday. The road reopened about four hours later, according to San Mateo County Emergency Operations authorities.

A tree collapsed in the 700 block of Mountain Home Road around 3 p.m., blocking the road in both directions. The road reopened about four hours later.

This morning (Jan. 9) at around 7 a.m., authorities reported a tree fallen along state Highway 35 (Skyline Boulevard) at County Road, closing the highway in both directions.

Around the same times, lanes in both directions on Skyline Boulevard at Kings Mountain Road were reported closed due to a tree falling into power lines.

San Francisquito Creek

Branches and tree trunks clogged the West Bayshore overpass at San Francisquito Creek on Sunday afternoon and evening, with crews spending hours to remove the massive amount of debris.

The dam of vegetation, with some tree trunks 30 feet long, covered a 20-foot-wide area that spanned from bank to bank, according to East Palo Alto officials. That section of the creek borders the cities of East Palo Alto and Palo Alto.

East Palo Alto Public Works Director Kamal Fallaha said he noticed the mass of debris at about 2:30 or 3 p.m. at West Bayshore Road near U.S. Highway 101 and promptly called the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) about the situation.

Police closed off West Bayshore Road near the overpass in both directions while Caltrans crews, using a backhoe scooped the mass of branches and trunks into a large, open, trailer-sized truck. .

With the truck filled to capacity, crews piled a mountain of debris about 40 feet long, 15 feet wide and at least 10 feet high on the roadway until another truck could be brought on Monday.

East Palo Alto officials kept a close watch on the creek during a high tide of 6.3 feet, which peaked at 10 p.m. By 9:30 p.m., the creek had already swelled to 10 feet, just 2.8 feet below flood stage, according to the city of Palo Alto's online creek monitor.

Water did not appear to rise appreciably during the high tide, but debris continued to collect even after Caltrans crews had significantly opened the channel.

For Sunday, Jan. 8, the maximum water flow on San Francisquito Creek recorded at Stanford University was more than five times the record maximum flow from 2005 on that date, which is based on 77 years of records, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

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